As China tries to sell its soft power, one channel it is tapping into is its food and beverage industry, with brands like Mixue and Luckin Coffee moving into overseas markets. Alongside its tech exports like smartphones, can China convince others of its products and improve its image?
Russia is employing the selective use of history to further its goals in Southeast Asia. But amid the various reminders of Soviet or Russian involvement in Southeast Asia, there is the constant awareness that history can be written in a certain way by certain parties.
World events have not been kind to Thailand’s economic plans. Besides high oil prices and US interest rates, Thailand faces prolonged slowdowns in its Northeast Asian economic partners. The challenges and opportunities are many, and ultimately hinge on stable democratic leadership.
Thailand’s long-drawn saga to acquire Chinese-built submarines is dead in the water. The kingdom’s newly-appointed defence minister Sutin Klungsang should be asking the Royal Thai Navy some serious questions.
Lianhe Zaobao journalist Daryl Lim steps into the world of scam syndicates and scam hubs in Southeast Asia, particularly Myanmar, which is one centre of activity. How can the authorities clean up the industry so that tourists — especially from China — will return and boost the recovery of the tourism industry?
Illicit nominations of Thais as shareholders in businesses run by Chinese operators are threatening local concerns. This highlights a dense network of transnational criminal activity that the Thai authorities are up against.
Lee Huay Leng, editor-in-chief of SPH’s Chinese Media Group, notes that she seems to have witnessed a shift in focus while attending the recent World Chinese Entrepreneurs Convention in Bangkok — while earlier editions were targeted at bringing together ethnic Chinese businessmen scattered around the world, a changed world seems to have made the latest edition more China-centric, and it remains to be seen whether this will hold for future editions.
Over the past decade or so, Thailand has come up with its own remakes of popular shows from overseas, from Chinese and Korean dramas to Taiwanese idol series. Producers have learnt that they need to inject their own uniqueness to the remade dramas to find an audience, including the large Chinese market. In recent years, Thailand’s own brand of “boys’ love” or BL dramas have even found favour with many of the source markets of its remade dramas. Zaobao correspondent Wang Yingmin talks to production companies and viewers to understand the pull of Thai TV series.
With China resuming outbound travel, Chinese tourists are on the move again. And with the wave of people, comes the resurgence of “zero-fare” tour groups — particularly in Thailand — that promise low-budget options. However, tourists are only brought to specific spots to spend money, which eventually goes back to Chinese operators without benefiting the local economy.